Thursday, February 19, 2015

Judge Mariani of Middle District Tackles the Post-Tincher Era in Products Case

In what appears to be the first Post-Tincher federal court decision in Pennsylvania relative to products liability cases, Judge Robert D. Mariani of the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania applied Tincher retroactively and granted in part and denied in part a Defendant's motion for summary judgment in the case of Nathan v. Techtronic Industries of North America, Inc., No. 3:12 - CV - 00679 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 17, 2015 Mariani, J.).

This case involved a products liability claim arising out of injuries from the Plaintiff's use of a table saw.

Notably the court retroactively applied Tincher and its analysis, including the analysis with respect to the application of the Restatement of Torts (Second) test, i.e. the risk/utility test.

In denying the Defendant's motion, the court noted feasible alternative designs that could have possibly avoided the injury.

Judge Robert D. Mariani
M.D. Pa.
Judge Mariani also noted in his Opinion that the Plaintiff's alleged removal of a safety device associated with the table saw - more specifically, the saw blade guard - was foreseeable due to the design of the guard.

The court granted summary judgment with respect to the failure to warn claims and breach of implied warranty claims in light of the Plaintiff's apparent concession on those issues.

Anyone wishing to review this notable Opinion of first impression in the federal courts in the Post-Tincher era may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney James Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this decision to my attention.  I invite you to check out Attorney Beck's nationally recognized Drug and Device Law Blog HERE.

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